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Marseille safety and itinerary?

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Madrid, Spain
posts: 2
Marseille safety and itinerary?

How safe exactly is Marseille and what should my itinerary be? I have two days in the Provence area and will be landing on a Friday around noon and was planning on going straight to tour the Chateau d'If (the main thing I want to see in Marseille). However, I heard that Marseille is really unsafe is this true? My hotel is Best Western Du Mucem which is about 200 meters away from the Marseille Cathedral. Is this an okay area and an easy walk to the port? I was also planning on going to Avignon on Saturday. What are your thoughts on that?

14 replies to this topic
Antibes, France
posts: 4,537
1. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

Marseille has a bit of a 'reputation' probably going back to the 'French Connection ' movie which everyone blames --- not that 'To Catch a Thief' hurt Monte Carlo much. It is a big old multicultural port city like Barcelona but not quite as gentrified. Drugs and police corruption still feature in the papers mainly around Marseille Nord which is not a tourist locality. And the idyllic holiday isle of Corsica actually has the worst murder rate in western Europe - many times that of Marseille.

Take normal precautions - wandering the streets at 2 am is always riskier than visiting art galleries at 2 pm. And look out for gangs of gypsies who are adept at pickpocketing.

Ed

Edited: 6:51 am, March 12, 2013
Marseille, France
Destination Expert
for Marseille, Aix-en-Provence
posts: 1,047
reviews: 3
2. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

When are you in Marseille? You should definitely check out the MuCEM / Villa Mediterranee / Fort Saint Jean area (near your hotel) if there in June or later. It's the most exciting. fastest-changing district of the city.

Re crime, MRS has a bad rap, but then so does Barcelona and it never cramped my style when I was in Spain. The town centre is pretty safe at most times in Marseille -- the much-publicised gang wars are in the outlying districts.

notts
posts: 226
reviews: 11
3. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

When do you go? Im staying at the same hotel on 14 th april for a few days.

Madrid, Spain
posts: 2
4. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

I will be in Marseille on the 12th of April leaving on the 14th. I'm living in Spain at the moment and have been to Barcelona a few times and have never felt unsafe there so that's good if it's like that. Does anybody have any good ideas for a day trip on Saturday? I'm a big history buff so I was thinking Avignon because of the Papal Palace but have also heard that Aix en Provence, Nice, and Arlas are pretty cool.

Marseille
posts: 122
reviews: 17
5. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time that questions about safety been asked. If you look are one of the previous posts on this topic you will find a range of opinions expressed - for example see:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187253-i662-k5660…

Philadelphia, PA
Destination Expert
for Cassis, Marseille, Manosque, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
posts: 1,070
reviews: 3
6. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

Avignon seems pretty on topic!

New York City, New...
posts: 32
reviews: 63
7. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

I was in your position, visiting Marseille and was very worried about my safety. It's a big, old, somewhat dirty, immigrant city. But in no way did I ever feel I was in harm's way. Keep your purse/bag/backpack over your shoulders, wear a money belt, be alert and vigilant, and don't stand out. Most of the normal stuff that you should already do in any major city. Marseille does have a bit of a reputation, but Vieux Port to the area near the St Charles train station are safe enough. Do not worry about drugs/ gangs: wont affect tourists. And have fun! Marseille is both cultural and beautiful- and on the Mediterranean. Would go back in a heartbeat.

Bury St. Edmunds...
posts: 6
reviews: 49
8. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

I visited Marseille late last month and I have to say hearing about the crime was slightly off putting. I stayed near the Railway Station and was surprised how pleasant it was. There were beggars about and people sleeping rough but they weren't aggressive at all. Even travelling on the Metro late in the evening was alright. There were a lot of security personnel about at the station and travelling on the metro. The area around Vieux Port was fine and again I saw no problems there. Certainly keep your handbags and wallets close to hand but there are pickpockets now in most big cities.

Edinburgh, United...
Destination Expert
for Kuching
posts: 1,757
reviews: 198
9. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

Good point made in comparison to Barcelona. Marseille gets bad press but in the tourist areas its a very pleasant place. I lived there many years ago in two areas (one in town and one suburb) and enjoyed it a lot with out trouble. Can't wait to return now that the old port has been revitalised along with other stuff for the year of culture.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 7,540
reviews: 41
10. Re: Marseille safety and itinerary?

J S...if you are a history buff, I would pay a visit to Arles and take a pass on Aix.

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